FIREBAUGH, Calif. (KSEE) – The Firebaugh-Las Deltas School District is among a group of California districts receiving top honors for its reading program.
The district’s work to improve its students reading skills has been a six-year journey.
“Our students have really learned to love reading again and you see them even during recess we have to give them library passes cause they all want to be in the library checking out books constantly,” explained H.M. Bailey Primary School Principal Mayra Magallanes.
That wasn’t the case five years ago. Then, the majority of elementary students in the Firebaugh Las Deltas School District were reading below grade level.
“Firebaugh looked at their data and realized that there were many kids that were falling through the cracks and that we needed to do more and perhaps our teachers just needed some more classroom support,” said Lisa Clark, English language arts coordinator.
Working with the office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, Firebaugh developed a comprehensive reading program starting at H.M. Bailey Primary, a TK through 2nd-grade school.
Teachers received a lot of professional development and coaching.
Using techniques like guided reading and writing, they built a strong foundation for students.
‘The next few years we started to align that work with our sister school, mills and in that process, they began their guided reading groups to fill in the gaps at this site,” said assistant superintendent Sarah Marshall.
Once the students enter the third grade at mills elementary the focus shifts, they begin to use their reading skills to learn.
“In third grade, we focus on a great deal on comprehension and higher-level critical thinking taking a passage a story identifying the main idea and the details,” said teacher Rosanna Samper.
Firebaugh’s literacy program is working. The district has earned top honors with a state organization naming it one of the best California school districts for teaching reading.